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News & Blog2020-05-06T07:32:58-04:00


Long Term Disaster Recovery Group Thanks Dow, Transitions to Next Stage of Recovery

Midland County is shifting into the recovery stage following the [...]

By |June 30th, 2020|Categories: Flood, News|Comments Off on Long Term Disaster Recovery Group Thanks Dow, Transitions to Next Stage of Recovery
807, 2020

Long Term Disaster Recovery Group will utilize generous materials and donations to help those impacted by Midland County flood

July 8th, 2020|COVID-19|

On Tuesday, July 8, Ace Hardware in Midland announced a donation of over 48,000 pounds of drywall to help those impacted by the flood.

“We are so grateful for the amazing generosity demonstrated by Ace Hardware,” shared Holly Miller, executive director of United Way of Midland County. “Their gift—along with many others from across the country—will play a vital part of the rebuilding process. Our community couldn’t do this work without them.”

The Long Term Disaster Recovery Group is collaborating to lead recovery and rebuild efforts. Made up of a broad representation of regional nonprofits, corporations, businesses, government, faith community, civic groups and schools, the recovery group is working together to chart a path forward.

Recovery will require a strategic and collective response in order to stretch local dollars to have the biggest impact. This includes generous in-kind donations of materials, along with skilled volunteers who can lend their time and talents.

The recovery process will be driven by a regional case management team to support and guide individuals through the rebuild journey. Case managers will work closely with a construction manager to assess homeowner needs, develop plans and deploy donated materials and volunteers to ensure the people impacted most by the flood receive the help they need.

The generous drywall from Ace Hardware, along with numerous other donated supplies, will be deployed as part of the Long Term Disaster Recovery efforts in the coming weeks and months by the construction management team. The team will be working from the damage assessment database, which includes damage self-reporting through the county and numerous other organizations who helped in the initial emergency phase.

To ensure your information is included in the flood damage database, please call (989) 374-8000.

807, 2020

United Way to Fund Housing and Well Solutions as part of the Long Term Disaster Recovery Efforts.

July 8th, 2020|Flood, News|

Midland County’s Long Term Disaster Recovery Group is working collaboratively to create a strategic system to support those impacted by the historic flooding event. Relief efforts are dynamic, evolving and will require a phased and collaborative approach.

The first phase of response was geared toward meeting basic needs like food, shelter, personal care, cleaning and other recovery items.

“An estimated $1.2 million in in-kind donations has provided a lifeline to thousands of people,” said Holly Miller, president and CEO of United Way of Midland County. “That incredible generosity is helping to stretch local dollars while meeting the critical needs of our neighbors.”

One key area identified as an emerging need is a system of support and flexible funding to help individuals and families who have been displaced from their residence due to the flood that fall outside of normal program restrictions.

The Emergency Operations Center has worked closely with the American Red Cross and other local agencies to provide non-congregate shelter for the short-term. The group is not focused on implementing longer-term solutions.

United Way of Midland County’s Rise Together Fund is designed to meet the financial and human needs of our most vulnerable citizens–those living in poverty, ALICE and the many whose life circumstances have radically changed as a result of a historic flood and global pandemic.

“Because of the flood devastation, many families have been permanently or temporarily displaced from their residences and are also facing well issues—which are huge, crucial needs,” said Miller. “United Way is putting the dollars generously invested in the Rise Together Fund to work to help vulnerable neighbors secure housing solutions and safe drinking water. This is an important step in meeting the basic needs of our community.”

Current reports show than 115 homes were destroyed and about 900 homes suffered major damage from the flood. In addition, there are approximately 25 Midland County residents reporting issues with their water wells.

United Way is investing an initial $200,000 to support short-term housing for individuals and families displaced from the flood. This includes help with security deposits, first month’s rent along with rent assistance for up to six months, based on financial need. These resources are prioritized for the ALICE population and those whose life circumstances have radically changed through this crisis.

In addition, United Way is providing up to $5,000 per household for those experiencing well water issues, also based on a demonstrated financial need in Midland County. The solutions—hooking up to City water or fixing or drilling a new well—can vary depending on each situation.

The Midland Area Community Foundation has committed to providing financial support for the additional case management. This creates vital infrastructure and a coordinated system for long-term success. The Flood Relief Fund at the Midland Area Community Foundation is helping to build critical infrastructure to help with flood recovery and rebuilding. This includes funding case managers and a construction manager as well as case management for housing needs through work with Home to Stay. In addition, the Flood Relief Fund has provided support for initial clean-up and debris removal.

“It has been inspiring and heartwarming to see the response of our community as we work together to help our neighbors recover and rebuild,” said Sharon Mortensen, president and CEO of Midland Area Community Foundation,” said Mortensen. “With our emphasis on providing some of the vital supports to help our community recover, we pleased to partner on this initiative to help individuals receive the needed support through case management.”

Together, they are partnering with Home To Stay Housing Assistance Center for intake, coordination, case management and financial reporting. As Midland County’s Housing Assessment & Resource Agency (HARA), Home To Stay will conduct the initial intake and case management, leveraging state and federal supports currently available to stretch local dollars to impact the most families.

“We work on a case-by-case basis offering housing case management, housing plans that outline goals and actions along with rental assistance,” said Donna St. John, executive director of Home To Stay Housing Assistance Center. “We are proud to partner with United Way of Midland County and the Midland Area Community Foundation to provide support to help our neighbors.”

If you are struggling financially to find a solution for stable housing and/or access to a reliable water source, you are encouraged to call Home to Stay at (989) 496-9550 or simply dial 211 to be connected with this and many other vital resources.

“Rebuilding is a process that has many moving components,” said Miller. “We are grateful to the organizations, nonprofits and generous donors who have ensured these resources are available. It’s truly people helping people. United Way is built to connect those resources and caring hearts together—especially in time like this.”

For more information on flood-related resources, visit or

107, 2020

Heroes and Hand Raisers Series: Steve Gerard

July 1st, 2020|Blog Posts, Flood|

“Heroes and Hand Raisers” is a new series created by United Way of Midland County in partnership with Midland Daily News. Each week, snapshots of volunteerism and human generosity—via quotes, photos, snippets and stories—will shine a spotlight on those who are impacting our community by raising their hand to help meet the needs of their neighbors.

Ernie Dinninger didn’t know what to do.

The floors of his home were buckling. The basement held over two feet of water. The bathrooms, the living room, the utility room…all damaged.

Ernie had purchased the house along Wixom Lake six years ago. It was the getaway spot for him and his wife Joan. They had a driveway and neighbors. They had string lights on the porch. They had a view of water.

But within 48 hours, everything changed. The flood devastation due to the Edenville and Sanford dam failures left the Dinninger home—and hundreds of others—in disarray. The waterfront view became dry and brittle as bones.

Ernie felt overwhelmed by the damage. Joan felt frightened. With 46 years of marriage under their belt, the couple had seen a lot—but they had never experienced a 500-year flood. No one had.

“I wanted to walk away,” Joan said.

Until they heard a knock at the door.

Enter Steve Gerard and his crew of five guys from New Sharon Fire & Rescue based out of New Sharon, Iowa—nearly 575 miles away from where they now stood on Ernie’s porch.

“Steve knocked on our door and said, ‘We’re here to help. What can we do?’ It was like the angels had arrived,” Joan Dinninger said. “My husband almost cried.”

Steve leads a group of seven firefighters trained in disaster relief and recovery. The fire rescue squad takes vacation time from their day jobs to go across the nation to help those facing disaster.

“They’re unbelievable,” Ernie said. “The most professional people. It was so overwhelming. I wouldn’t have known who to get a hold of, but these guys did more in two and a half days than we could have done in a month. When they came to the door, I almost cried.”

New Sharon Fire & Rescue group is one of many National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOADs) who came to Midland County to assist with flood damage assessment and cleanup for free.

When the crews arrive in Michigan, United Way worked with the State of Michigan and the county’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to get the VOAD groups the addresses of homes that needed help. United Way also collaborated with the EOC, Dow and the faith community to ensure each VOAD group had what they need.

“When I try to get set up when I come to an area, I need two things: a roof over my head, and a place to shower and clean up,” Steve said. “I don’t want to be part of the burden on these home-owners; I want to be a part of the solution. United Way and the Midland County community….bless them. They gave me a place to stay and lined up dinner for us every night. They get us set up so we can go out and do what we need to do.”

At Joan and Ernie’s house, Steve and his crew helped tear our insulation and remedy the demolished bathrooms, floor and walls.

“Thank you,” Ernie said. “Words can’t express how it happened. We know these people care, and when they came, it was unbelievable.”

Steve said he and his crew help communities because they know what it feels like to be at the mercy of disaster.

“It’s about paying ahead,” Steve said. “We’ve had tornadoes in Iowa and in our vicinity. We know what it’s like. So we like to see our work now as paying it forward.”

Residents across the county and region have benefited from numerous VOAD teams. These volunteers have traveled from across the country to lend helping hand and to help our community put the pieces back together.

If you have significant flood damage to your home and have yet to receive volunteer support or have not reported damage through the self-assessment, call the Long Term Disaster Recovery hotline at (989) 374-8000.

3006, 2020

Long Term Disaster Recovery Group Thanks Dow, Transitions to Next Stage of Recovery

June 30th, 2020|Flood, News|

Midland County is shifting into the recovery stage following the historic flood, working to create long-term solutions and meet basic needs.

The Long Term Disaster Recovery Group is working collaboratively to lead recovery and rebuild efforts. Made up of a broad representation of reginal nonprofits, corporations, businesses, government, faith community, civic groups and schools, they are working together to chart a path forward.

“Collaboration among many community partners has been a tremendous undertaking and blessing all at once. United Way has done an amazing job working with others partners in response efforts,” said Jenifier Boyer, Emergency Management Coordinator of Midland County. “As our community works together through the recovery phases of this catastrophic disaster, it is important that we continue collaboration with community partners and have a systematic process to continue to assess unmet needs and work to get the best return on the investment of those that have generously donated across the nation to make the greatest impact. The Long Term Disaster Recovery Group is working to do just that.”

The group has identified five key focus areas: financial support, volunteer coordination, housing, rebuild & construction, public relations and case management.

“When the flood first hit, the priority was getting basic needs and flood recovery items into the hands of people impacted,” said Holly Miller, president and CEO of United Way of Midland County. “Dow played an integral part in spearheading logistics to establish distribution sites. As the needs have now shifted, we are continuing to partner with Dow, the Long Term Disaster Recovery Group and the community to ensure our next steps create long-term impact.”

Beth Sorenson Prince, director of impact and capacity building at United Way of Midland County, said the distribution sites could not have evolved as quickly or successfully without Dow’s expertise. Dow volunteers were also present at the sites and helped organize items at the hangar, lending their support and skills.

“Supporting our neighbors, colleagues and citizens across the region who have been impacted by this historic flood remains paramount, in both the near- and long-term,” said Mary Beth Heydrick, vice president of Performance Materials and Coatings Envelope and Operations for North America North at Dow. “We will continue to lend our time, talents and resources, and will work with organizations and individuals throughout the community to recover, rebuild and move forward.”

One of the generous investments that Dow, United Way and Midland Area Community Foundation made in the first six weeks were vouchers for free laundry through the end of June. Those still needing help with laundry are encouraged to call 211 to connect with available resources.

“For the last month or so, we’ve provided basic needs and cleaning supplies while people were mucking out their houses. Though these basic need items will be available on a limited basis, we look forward on focusing on the rebuilding of our community,” Prince said.

To adapt with the changing needs, resource centers will consolidate in terms of hours and location sites. This transition will happen in two stages.


During the week of June 29, all sites will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Thursday, July 2. All sites will close from Friday, July 3 through Sunday, July 5 in observance of Independence Day.

Beginning Monday, July 6, site hours and dates will shift to the following:

  • Meridian Elementary School, 3343 N Meridian Road, Sanford: MWF, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
  • Sanford Senior Center (limited supplies), 3243 N. West River Road, Sanford: M-F, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • Greater Midland Community Center (Senior Wing), 2205 Jefferson Ave, Midland: MWF, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • West Midland Family Center, 4011 W Isabella Road, Shepherd: M-F, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
  • Greater Midland North Family Center, 2601 E Shearer Road, Midland: M-F, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
  • Greater Midland Coleman Family Center, 4839 N Coleman Schools Drive, Coleman: M-F, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Beginning Monday, July 13, site locations will consolidate to the following:

  • Sanford Senior Center (offering personal hygiene kits and cleaning kits), 3243 N. West River Road, Sanford: M-F, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • Greater Midland Community Center (Senior Wing), 2205 Jefferson Ave, Midland: MWF, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • West Midland Family Center, 4011 W Isabella Road, Shepherd: M-TH, 9:30 am – 3:00 pm; F, 9:30 am – noon
  • Greater Midland North Family Center, 2601 E Shearer Road, Midland: M-F, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

“We want to recognize our dedicated nonprofit partner agencies and the many ways they have stepped up to support families in need.  They are leading the charge on these resource centers and are uniquely positioned to sustain this vital support to our community,” shared Miller. “We also want to recognize our partners at Trinseo, who stepped in to lead the Meridian Site during the transition and consolidation. Their leadership has been instrumental along with the many local individuals and groups stepping up to volunteer each day.”


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Phone: (989) 631-3670

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